A Southern Grace: #grateful365

February 4, 2016



There are some things we just don't fully appreciate until they disappear for awhile (or forever), and I know I'm guilty of taking lots of things for granted, my senses of smell and taste being high on the list. As someone whose life centers around food in many ways, those are two very important things!

I won't call it a resolution, but something I've been trying to do this year is pick and photograph one thing each day for which I'm grateful. There are no rules--I'm choosing things as significant as my significant other to as mundane as toilet paper. I've posted a few on my Instagram, mostly as a way to hold myself accountable. So far, I think this little project has helped my attitude in general and seems to make me stop and truly appreciate things that sometimes go overlooked.

So, after about a week of being stuffed up and whiny puny, I'm finally over a pesky cold and can taste again! To celebrate the return of my senses (in more ways than one), I made a cake that has been on my to-bake list for a long time, for obvious reasons. Well hello there, cinnamon!

What we have here is a poke cake, which means that after the cake is baked, lots of holes are poked into it and a deliciously rich and luscious mixture is drizzled into those holes, seeping into the depths of the cake and make it taste even better and have an even more wondrous texture. Then, as if that weren't decadent enough, the whole thing is topped with frosting!

If you disapprove of the use of cake mix in the recipe, I'm sorry. Like I said, I've been puny; feel free to make one from scratch if you prefer! In this instance, the mix results in a moist yet fluffy cake that gets rippled with buttery cinnamon goo and topped with a slightly thinner and just-as-tasty layer of cream cheese frosting. It's SO satisfying. I've never used sweetened condensed milk in a frosting, but I liked the super creamy results! You're supposed to store this in the fridge, so I recommend knocking the chill off a bit with a very short stint in the microwave before digging in!

Cinnamon Roll Poke Cake
Based on this recipe
(printable recipe)
Makes 12 servings
  • 1 (15.25-ounce) box white cake mix
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
  • 2-3 tablespoons sweetened condensed milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9x13-inch baking dish; set aside.
In a large bowl, mix together cake mix, eggs, milk, water, and butter until combined, 2 minutes or so.
Pour batter into prepared baking dish.
Bake for 20-30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
While the cake is baking, stir together the melted butter, brown sugar, condensed milk, cinnamon, and vanilla extract; set aside.
Using the handle of a wooden spoon (or similar instrument), poke lots of holes in the cake. I made about 40, but I think more would be even better!
Pour filling mixture over warm cake, gently spreading as necessary.
Let cake cool to room temperature.
To make the frosting, beat together cream cheese and butter until combined.
Add powdered sugar and 1 tablespoon condensed milk. Beat together until well-combined.
Mix in additional condensed milk and vanilla to desired consistency.
Spread frosting over room temperature cake.
Enjoy warm, at room temperature, or chilled, and be sure to cover and chill any leftovers.


Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

Oooh, that cake looks heavenly!



Summer said...

Your project on being grateful is such a brilliant idea! Love the cake too ♥

Marcelle said...

Sometimes boxed cake mixes are just necessary, I keep them around too. This cake looks so good! This type of dessert is right up my alley and something I can't wait to make! Love cinnamon!! Glad you are feeling better, Grace. :)

Angie Schneider said...

Glad that you feel much better now, Grace. The cake looks lovely and do eat one piece for me :-))

Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella said...

Sorry to hear that you've been feeling puny but good to hear that you're back on the mend. As for this cake, Wawaweewah as Borat would say! :D

Pam said...

What a great way to remember to be grateful!

I don't mind you using cake mix, shortcuts are nice when you don't feel great or when you need something fast! This is my kind of cake and I know my kids would LOVE it. Bookmarked.

Glad you are feeling better.

Sue/the view from great island said...

All I can say is omg omg omg sharing! This is a gorgeous cake, and glad you're on the mend!

Big Rigs 'n Lil' Cookies said...

Genius. This sounds like the best poke cake idea ever.
Times like this, I wish we were more than just the two of us, so I could bake more desserts!

Lucy said...

This looks so yummy, and so much easier than making traditional cinnamon rolls :) Perfect for brunch parties!

Kate @ Framed Cooks said...

I love your gratefulness project - it's so inspirational! I might do that for Lent. So glad you are feeling better!

Beth said...

Mmm ... I love the idea of a cinnamon cake. And anything that uses condensed milk in two different ways has to be amazing!

~~louise~~ said...

I agree Grace. Sometimes it's just easier to take life and its wonders for granted. I too think Lent would be a wonderful time to appreciate the gifts of life no matter how trivial, always significant:)

As for that poke cake of yours, well, I'm speechless! I have recently discovered the virtues of low fat sweetened condensed milk and I'm luvin' it! I do believe I could devour that filling alone! I'll be saving this gem for sure!

Thank you so much for your inspiration and deliciousness...

P.s Now if I can figure out where you are on Instagram, I'll be following, lol...

Marcela N said...

I'm dying.... love the combination of flavors! love the cake... it looks so perfect! glad you're feeling better now :) enjoy the food! :)

Marcela N said...

also, didn't now you had an instagram! Gonna follow you right away. I'm @marrific out there ;)

Inger @ Art of Natural Living said...

Great resolution (and cake)! I've heard that gratitude really makes a difference.

Susannah B said...

Whoa, this looks gorgeous, Grace! I have never made a poke cake but now I feel like I should. I looove cinnamon rolls so this sounds awesome.

Kate said...

I'm glad to hear you are feeling better, Grace! I think celebrating with cinnamony cake is a genius idea!